Home » What Is a Project Baseline & Why Does It Matter in Project Management?

What Is a Project Baseline & Why Does It Matter in Project Management?

by Austiee Gosney

You’ve probably heard the expression “We’re flying by the seat of our pants.” In project management, we call it operating without a baseline. Learn how to use iron triangle project management and agile together to manage different variables and make the best decisions to reach business goals. You now have all the steps to create a well-defined project baseline for your project ventures. So make sure that once you have fully created your project baseline, revisit, review, and revise it with the latest information. Right after that, you’ll have to define the duration of how much time it will take for the team to deliver the scope of work.

What Is a Project Baseline

There is a lot to manage in any project, from product development to the progress of team members and project managers. This means that there is much information to be captured, shared, and discussed. Using a sound project software system will enable you to plan and create a project baseline that provides visibility to every team member. Scope creep is the tendency of projects to grow in scope without corresponding changes to time, budget, or resources. In other words, the deadline remains the same, but the project has more work to be done before it can be completed.

Time Tracking

Unauthorized work that becomes part of the project is called scope creepand can put your project on life support. Scope issues are one of the biggest causes of project failure. Rather than a time-phased performance baseline, the scope baseline represents the project’s work. More than just a scope statement, it is the embodiment of the project work into phases and tasks, hence it is tracked like a baseline. If any tasks require more or less work than envisioned, the baseline is updated.

Project baselines are indispensable tools that can keep your projects on track, your teams motivated, and your clients happy. By taking the time to create, optimize, manage, and track them, you’ll overcome most hurdles and produce results you’ll be proud of. Scope creep often burns out the team and contributes to missed deadlines.

What is Project Baseline in Project Management?

A project baseline is a document that gives you an overview of the project – from what has been done to where things are at right now. Once project execution starts, the project’s baseline is put under change control to help you evaluate any further change and its impact on the project. No meaningful measurements can be made if the scope, cost, and schedule are not under strict change control disciplines.

If you don’t have a clearly defined schedule that you can monitor, how do you measure progress? I keep track of my projects by using Toggl Plan, a web-based project management tool with Gantt chart timelines that helps me measure progress AND detect problems as they arise. The simple definition of a project baseline is the starting https://www.globalcloudteam.com/ point for your project plan. Once it’s established, you use it to measure progress and overall performance. When you’re wondering whether you’re on track and within budget, the good or bad news can be found in the baseline. Confluence helps eliminate friction by letting you add project baselines into your project page templates.

Gantt Charts

A project baseline is a project management metric that measures how far a project has progressed. Project baselines allow you to assess the project’s status and progress in terms of cost, schedule, and scope. Set your project scope baseline first, since this determines both your schedule and budget.

  • These are common examples of tools and techniques that help visualize the project schedule and allow for transparent schedule communication and controlling.
  • Scope, cost, and schedule baselines are used as reference points and help keep our projects on track.
  • Projects will often have a single, target value, but it is important to know if the project is in good health at any given intermediate project controlpoint.
  • If any stakeholder expresses valid concerns, don’t hesitate to update the project plan.
  • Actual Cost is the actual cost of the task at the point of analysis.
  • These changes can impact the project performance, resources, and especially the baseline.

People understand their jobs well and know what the stakeholders, whether organizational leaders or consumers, expect from them and how they should perform. The success of each project is already demarcated, and teams are expected to reach the projected goals, which are marked in project baselines. Just because you set baselines doesn’t mean your project is sunk if your scope, schedule, or budget gets off track. In fact, planning for change is an integral part of the project baselining process. Your final budget document should include line items for each deliverable, sub-deliverable, and required resource—plus the expected cost of each. You should also include the timeline for when you’ll need each resource and when you expect to spend funds.

Jira Product Discovery

This will help you reduce risks and achieve project targets as intended. In this project baseline example, you must first outline all the tasks needed to improve your conversion rate and achieve the end goal of 500 sales. This would include plans for social media posts for various platforms with detailed copy and design briefs. You can then map out your schedule in a content calendar, including optimized dates and times for each post.

What Is a Project Baseline

If I’ve worked on similar projects before, I know which tasks are dependent on others , which makes it easier to develop a critical path. If I’m venturing into new territory, I talk to more experienced colleagues or go on the Project Management Stack Exchange, which is an excellent https://www.globalcloudteam.com/glossary/baseline/ Q&A resource for project managers. If your schedule is not thoroughly planned, you may underestimate the number of resources you will need. I saw this happen when another project manager at my agency failed to realize how many coders he would need to launch a global ecommerce site.

Cost Baseline

Project Resource Planning Plan and allocate resources for timely delivery. Resource Management View team workloads and reallocate tasks to avoid burnout. Project Management Plan Agile projects, track deadlines, and deliver results. Creative & Design Create high-quality assets and get them approved in record time.

What Is a Project Baseline

For example, say your budget for a website development project is $100,000. You go into week two of work and realize you have already spent almost half of this sum — this is a clear indication that something isn’t right. If there is only a minor variance from our baseline, we can say that our project is going well.

Featured Partners: Project Management Software

When you have baselines, it’s easier to communicate plans and get buy-in from everyone involved. ➡️ Learn more about the essentials of agile project management. In this step, you have to identify project resources for all project activities and define their due dates and a final deadline for the project. First, you have to define a scope statement, including key deliverables. You may also underestimate the time required to complete tasks.

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